Greek refugees on islands are multiplying and vulnerable for coronavirus. Thousands of older people, people with chronic disease, children and pregnant women are currently housed in overcrowded conditions and the spread of Covid-19 in those areas could prove catastrophic.
On 22 March, the population camps on Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros was 37,000, even though facilities have a total capacity of just 6,095. The population in camps has extremely limited access to water, toilets, and showers. People have to wait in line for hours for food and live in precarious tents or containers with no heating. The number of medical and nursing personnel is woefully insufficient. Furthermore, anyone who has arrived since last July is not allowed to access public health care.
The Greek government is restricting the movement of refugees and an outbreak would result in many preventable deaths. Amnesty International and other human rights groups are calling on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to move people from the islands to other accommodation on the mainland; to ensure the camps have sufficient medical personnel, adequate hygiene products and continuous running water; and free access to healthcare in the public system which would include testing and treatment for Covid-19.